Peanut Allergy Cure Headlines: Hype or Real Progress?


Peanut allergy can be a dangerous allergy to manage. Up to 1% of people in the US suffer from peanut allergy.

A slew of recent headlines have claimed a “cure” for peanut allergy through the combination of a probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosis and a peanut protein therapy.  The headlines are based on  recent research presented in the Lancet, Child and Adolescent Health.  But some clinicians and researchers are taking issue with the rigor of the study and the claimed results.

Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE probiotics! But we believe in giving our customers the most accurate information.

Sensational Headlines Skew Real Results

“Cure to deadly peanut allergy FINALLY found – with kids given probiotics with nut protein free from reaction for four years” – Daily Mail

“Peanut Allergy Cure: Probiotic, Oral Therapy Work, Study Shows” -NewsMax

“Peanut allergy could be cured with probiotics” – Medical News Today

These are just a few of the headlines generated by the recent follow-up study published in the Lancet.  And indeed, the researchers who performed the study have also claimed this amazing result.  However, allergists and other researchers in this field are urging caution due to the size, scope and limitations of the study.

Science is a Long, Slow, Slog – Oral Immunotherapy Treatment (OIT)

Oral Immunotherapy Treatment (OIT) for peanut allergy is gaining traction with more research indicating that this type of therapy for allergic individuals might be a viable long term strategy for providing protection from life-threatening reactions or possibly allowing an individual to eat the allergic food normally [1].  It is likely we will see FDA approval of OIT treatments for peanut and other foods coming within the next couple years [1].  However, gaining ‘protection’ from OIT is far more common than achieving tolerance in the research and a ‘cure’ is still not within reasonable reach.

Peanut Probiotic Oral Immunotherapy Treatment (PPOIT), utilized in this study, combines a probiotic dose with the peanut oral immunotherapy treatment.  However, the study lacked important controls, like a group who received OIT without the probiotic to compare to the PPOIT group who received the probiotic [2]. Therefore, no relationship between the probiotic and the therapy can clearly be made.

In addition, the study in question utilized only 48 individuals from a previous study, a generally small study to claim such large far-reaching results.  Of these 48 only 16 were eating peanut. Of those eating peanut, 12 agreed to abstain for 8 weeks, after which, only 7 could continue eating peanut [1,2].  

These results are, well, to use a phrase, peanuts.  Hardly more than half of the patients maintained their tolerance, and not enough to claim a cure for the remaining.

Lactobacillus rhamnosis, the probiotic used in the study has had some indication of improving allergy.  It may in the future play a larger role in allergy treatment or prevention but that is yet to be determined through the scientific process.

In the meantime, good gut health has many important benefits, from improvement of constipation, seasonal allergies, health of pregnant mothers, to immune support and mental health benefits.  Supporting gut health is what H2PRO is all about.

#LoveYourGuts, it’s not peanuts, it’s common sense.

 

Citations

1- Shreffler, Wayne (2017) Response to recent news about oral immunotherapy. Massachusetts General Hospital, Food Allergy Center. Accessed 9/15/2017: https://foodallergy.partners.org/public/?p=213

2- Chu, Derek et al. (2017) Reality Check: The Facts Beyond the Hype over Peanut Allergy and Probiotics. Allergic Living in Food Allergy, News, Peanut & Tree Nut Accessed 9/15/2017: https://allergicliving.com/2017/08/25/reality-check-the-facts-beyond-the-hype-over-peanut-allergy-and-probiotics/

 

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